Tag Archive | tickle the ivories

Tickle The Ivories at Liverpool ONE

Tickle The Ivories launched this weekend with a bang.  Or should that be with a plinky plink plink? Either way, it’s a fantastic example of bringing music out into the open.

John Wishart tickling the ivories

Organised by the tireless girls at Open Culture, Tickle The Ivories sees five pianos placed around Liverpool ONE played by a host of musicians that include solo artists, large groups, school choirs and our very own Culture Champ, John Wishart.

I pootled over to Liverpool ONE on Sunday with my offspring, happy to be out in a bit of sunshine at last.  My friends Geoff and Emma Williams are hosting the Chotěboř Youth Orchestra, a group of 15 youngsters from the Czech Republic and they were playing at the Galleria, or outside the Odeon to you and me. Ranging in age from Ján, 19, to 10 year-old Magda the orchestra brought a wonderful, tea-at-The-Ritz feel to the Galleria that had shoppers stopping in their tracks to look on and smile wistfully.

The Chotebor Youth Orchestra

I asked Don and Dorothy, who’d just left the cinema with their grandchildren, what they thought and Don told me, “It’s wonderful! You don’t see this kind of thing often and it’s lovely to see it here.” Like a lot of others, they stayed for a while to listen to the beautiful strings accompanying the piano. Joef, one of the orchestra’s leaders, told me that the experience was a new one for the group.  Speaking far better English than I speak Czech, he told me that they were used to playing churches and concerts halls, so this was a whole new experience for them.  He was delighted to be playing in this big, loud, open environment and told me how much the group love coming to Liverpool. “We’re very glad to see Liverpool and we’re happy to be here,” he told me.  “Děkuji!” I said.  Thank you.  Which is the total sum of my knowledge of the Czech language.

As the orchestra was packing up we went down to see John Prince playing a lovely set at the Paradise Street piano.  No big crowds here, but John’s playing put a smile on the faces of everyone passing by.

While my son went to eye up some rather expensive Lego in the Lego shop, I watched in amazement as Dave Antrobus’s upbeat, Rat Pack style set was overtaken by a lively bunch of Italian students. Shoving Dave unceremoniously off his seat, one of the Italians, Andrea (always trouble, those Andreas) set about playing, quite brilliantly, a couple of Coldplay biggies followed by We Are The Champions and ending with a gorgeous Imagine.

Dave Antrobus gamely lets Italian student Andrea take over

Dave, who’s got some more TTI sets coming up, watched on good naturedly (is that a word?) while the Italians overwhelmed his piano.

What I really love about Tickle The Ivories is that it’s a great example of bringing the mountain to Mohamed.  While an Eastern European orchestra playing classical music might draw an appreciative, but niche, crowd to, say, The Philharmonic, plonking them smack bang in the city’s busiest shopping centre brings their breathtaking music out to everyone passing.  And they loved it.

One the way home we witnessed the marvellous sight of a man playing a Sinatra set on a tennis racquet in Lord Street.  Not part of TTI, but it tickled me anyway. So the next time you’re in town, make some time to check out the range of talent on show.

Tickle the Ivories
The Liverpool ONE Piano Festival

7th July – 16th September 2012

Ladies and Gentlemen…How Tickled I am! – Tickle the Ivories 7 Jul-16 Sep

This weekend heralds the start of a great Liverpool musical comeback.Whats that you ask? Flock of Seagulls? Atomic Kitten? Our Kid? No you crazy fools!  TICKLE THE IVORIES  is back and I needn’t  spin the sequel by claiming its bigger, bolder,  with more stunts and car chases and all that malarkey because it really doesn’t need it.

With five pianos dotted around the L1 shopping district , dozens of different pianists and entertainers will be the star of this years summer blockbuster and for anyone who missed it last year then you really will be in for a treat. The Acts vary from Choirs, duets, quartets, classical, cabaret, singers songwriters and your lowly busker types like myself who were lucky enough to take part in last years event and are equally honoured to take part  this year.

The real beauty of this initiative, which is the brainchild of the hardworking gals at  Open Culutre is that it is inclusive to anyone who wishes to dip their toes in the performers pond regardless of experience. There will be at any given time a FREE PLAY  piano for a passer by to play at their leisure. Last year I witnessed on several occasions a shy young child out shopping with their parents tentatively take a seat at a free play piano and then amaze the shoppers with an accomplished tune after which the child would usually look up , notice the crowd that had gathered and then bolt, ushering their proud parents to match a twenty mile an hour sprint away, overwhelmed by the reaction but nonetheless boosted in self esteem.
It was truly  the highlight of my Summer last year both as a player and a shopper and it had me cast aside all my untrained anxieties and just embrace the whole spirit of entertaining people as best my limitations would allow.  I know that this year will be no different. Not having to be bigger, nor bolder,  no stunts. Car chase not required.

For information on piano locations,  performers and to book a piano slot click: tickletheivories.org/

For all your Cultural enlightenment needs click:culture.org.uk

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